As the European Parliament’s Environment Committee Rapporteur today presents his report on the reform of Europe’s biofuels policy, a new web documentary explores how the EU has failed to decarbonise transport through biofuels. The web documentary can be found at www.biofuelsreform.org.
The Juncker Commission has been in office for a month now. I can’t resist a bit of early stocktaking, but I will also look ahead.
European trade ministers set to discuss EU trade priorities on Friday have been warned that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada would unleash a wave of corporate lawsuits against Canada, the EU and its member states, particularly in the mining and financial sectors.
EU governments last week agreed three modest targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase the share of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency by 2030. Environmental groups said the goals would not do enough to cut Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels and put it on track to meet its own 2050 climate pledges.
The European Parliament voted last week to approve a college of commissioners with much to prove in terms of its commitment to environmentally-sustainable policies and effective measures to fight climate change. The Commission was formally accepted by the European Council on Friday morning.
The EU is set to overachieve on its climate targets for 2020, the European Environment Agency has said, with greenhouse gas emissions falling 1.8% in 2013.
Countries are more likely to take action to tackle climate change when confronted by extreme weather, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).
EU heads of state today agreed three modest climate and green energy targets for 2030 , which lack the ambition needed to put Europe on track to meet its own 2050 climate commitments  and will not do enough to cut dependence on fossil fuels. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) says that now targets have been agreed, all eyes should turn towards implementation: the means and policies to achieve these 2030 targets can still make a big difference for the climate and the transition to a low-carbon economy where transport is crucial.
In the two European Parliament hearings, which were clearly designed to avoid undue controversy, both Commissioners-designate Maroš Šefčovič and Violeta Bulc displayed a good grasp of their briefs but stayed clear of strong statements, let alone concrete commitments.
Did you know that every car in Europe uses a blend of biofuels? This is because of EU law. And to meet this demand, global production of biofuels has skyrocketed. You may think ‘bio’ means biofuels are always good for the planet. But because biofuels are derived from plant products, any increase in their use has a direct impact on agriculture worldwide. That means more deforestation to make way for new agricultural land, releasing the stored-up carbon of rainforests into the air and driving up global food prices. Co-produced by T&E, BirdLife Europe, and the European Environmental Bureau, The Little Book of Biofuels explains this Butterfly Effect of Europe’s biofuels policy and how we can end it.